Historical and Cultural Tour
Image by Hogs555 under Creative Commons License.

Colorado, Denver Guide (A): Historical and Cultural Tour

Settled as a historic mining town 1858, prospectors ventured across the Great Plains in search of fortune. At an exact elevation of one mile (5,280 feet) above sea level, the town has served as a base for those seeking to travel into the Rocky Mountains. Settlers came for a new life, and established a wonderful city. Today, the bustling metropolis is known for microbreweries, trend-setting hot spots, and forward thinking.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Historical and Cultural Tour
Guide Location: USA » Denver
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 4.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
Author: Katie Hilborn
Author Bio: Katie Hilborn is a freelance writer and an avid world traveler. Having been to over 17 countries in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia and Oceania, Katie loves to write about her crazy adventures and amazing cultures that she encounters along the way.
Author Website: http://hubpages.com/profile/Carmen_Sandiego
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Molly Brown House Museum
  • Colorado State Capitol
  • Civic Center Park
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Byers-Evans House Museum
  • City and County Building
  • U.S. Denver Mint
  • Brown Palace Hotel
  • 16th Street Mall
  • D & F Tower
  • Larimer Square
  • Denver Performing Arts Complex
1
Molly Brown House Museum

1) Molly Brown House Museum

This was once home of the “unsinkable” Molly Brown, a philanthropist and socialite who survived the sinking of the Titanic. Fortune began with the discovery of gold in the nearby mountain town of Leadville. The house was built in the 1880s, and was modeled after several popular architectural styles of the time. One in particular, that of Great Britain’s Queen Anne, used elaborate and eccentric decorating found during the Victorian Era. All original furnishings can be found within the property. Mr. and Mrs. Brown traveled a great deal, so the home was mostly rented. During the Great Depression, Molly was forced to turn the property into a boarding house. Tours run from 10 am until 3:30 pm Thursday through Sunday, and include captivating stories of Molly Brown’s extraordinary life.
Image by Onetwo1 under Creative Commons License.
2
Colorado State Capitol

2) Colorado State Capitol

The Colorado State Capitol Building houses the General Assembly and the offices of both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Colorado. Built in 1894, the structure was fabricated from white granite mined directly from quarries in the Rocky Mountains. The lavish 24-carat gold-plated dome was intended to honor the Colorado Gold Rush. All the marble found in the interior of the building was also extracted from local quarries, including a large supply of rose onyx, an extremely rare stone. It is believed that the entire world's supply was exhausted in order to construct the building. An interesting fact -- If you stand on the 13th step on the west side of the building, you're exactly 5,280 feet (1 mile) above sea level.
Image by TFCforever under Creative Commons License.
3
Civic Center Park

3) Civic Center Park

Civic Center Park lies in what’s known as the “Golden Triangle. It was completed in 1919 and was modeled after ideas taken from the World Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. The architect, Edward Bennett, was a predecessor of Daniel Burnham; who notably redesigned the Chicago lake shore after the Great Fire of 1871. The park was designed around the need to beautify the city. Charles Robinson, of the newly formed Art Commission in 1905, said that the Civic Center Park would emphasize and dignify the State Capitol and preserve a grand mountain view. The park includes many neoclassical statues, gardens, and fountains; including a Greek amphitheater, a war memorial, and the Voorhees Memorial Seal Pond. John H.P. Voorhees, a mining pioneer, donated large contributions towards the development. The park is used for a multitude of public events and celebrations, including political and presidential rallies and the National Western Stock Show.
Image by Vertigo700 under Creative Commons License.
4
Denver Art Museum

4) Denver Art Museum

Originally founded in 1893 as the Denver Artists Club, the museum has changed locations several times. It’s current location was completed in 2006, as the Frederic C. Hamilton Building. The unique architecture was designed around Colorado’s landscape – the peaks of the Rockies and the geometric rock crystals found in the foothills nearby. The exterior titanium panels reflect Colorado's 300 days of sunshine per year. The museum houses nine

curatorial departments: architecture, design & graphics; Asian art; modern and contemporary; the native arts (American Indian, Oceanic, and African); New World Art from the Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial era; European and American painting and sculpture; photography; Western art; and lastly textile art. It is known most for is collection of American Indian art, and has a ample assembly of more than 68,000 works from across the world.
Image by Ray Tsang under Creative Commons License.
5
Byers-Evans House Museum

5) Byers-Evans House Museum

The Byers-Evans House is one of Denver’s most elaborate homes. Located in the heart of the city with looming modern-day sky scrapers in the backdrop, it can remind us of a simpler time. It was built by William Byers, the founder of Denver's first newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News. In 1883, Byers decided to model it in the Italianate style, with crimson-colored brick, a flat roof, and an ornamental ledge. The style is largely reminiscent of the 16th century Italian Renaissance, which served as the inspiration of Neoclassicism. In 1889, it was sold to William Gray Evans. Both Byers and Evans have an important legacy in Denver as they are some of the greatest contributors and founders of libraries, parks, businesses, museums, hospitals, and transportation systems. Many original furnishings can be found within the home. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 11am to 3pm.
Image by Jeffrey Beall under Creative Commons License.
6
City and County Building

6) City and County Building

Used as a the court house and city hall, this building is one of Denver’s most recognizable structures. Built in 1932, it’s also included in the “Golden Triangle,” and faces the State Capitol across from Civic Center Park. The building is modeled after the Beaux-Arts Neoclassical style. Beaux Arts is French for “fine arts” and combines classical Greek and Roman architecture with Renaissance ideas. Most large public buildings and mansions followed these styles. Another characteristic includes symmetry and grand design. The building welcomes you with large bronze doors, that open up to a significant staircase wrapped amongst granite columns made from material found on the famous Stone Mountain in Georgia.
Image by Billy Hathorn under Creative Commons License.
7
U.S. Denver Mint

7) U.S. Denver Mint

The Denver Mint is one of five U.S. Mints in the country where all money is produced. It also happens to be the single largest supplier of coins in the world. The building was erected in 1863, shortly after the start of the Gold Rush, when Congress decided the need of a facility to store and circulate the surplus of new money. The mint’s output can exceed 50 million coins per day. Free tours are available between 8am and 2pm Monday through Friday. Reservations are required.
Image by Billy Hathorn under Creative Commons License.
8
Brown Palace Hotel

8) Brown Palace Hotel

Built in 1892, the Brown Palace Hotel is a staple of excellence and architecture among Denverites. It’s the second-oldest hotel in town, and was designed in the Italian Renaissance style – a popular feature of Denver buildings during that time. The exterior is made up of Colorado red granite and Arizona sandstone, while the interior consists of Mexican onyx, a stained glass atrium, and beautiful artwork. Famous guests have included the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower. It is also rumored to be one of Denver’s most haunted locations. Stay for the popular afternoon tea while listening to a harpist or pianist. Tours are available every Wednesday and Saturday at 3 pm. Reservations are required.
Image by Hustvedt under Creative Commons License.
9
16th Street Mall

9) 16th Street Mall

The 16th Street Mall is an old roadway that has been converted into a lively and entertaining pedestrian zone. It runs along 16th Street, starting at Union Station on Wewatta, and extending to the Civic Center Station on Broadway. The area is home to hundreds of shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment. The street is known for an array artwork, public communal pianos, and resident performers. One can see dancers, impressionists, actors, musicians, and comedians. Sit amongst the hundreds of oak trees and take advantage of the free WiFi that is available from anywhere on the street. Take a leisurely stroll, or hop on the free eco-friendly shuttle bus to transport you up and down.
Image by MattWright under Creative Commons License.
10
D & F Tower

10) D & F Tower

The Daniels and Fisher (D & F) Tower is a historic landmark in Denver, and at the time of building in 1910, was the tallest structure in the Western United States. It is modeled after the Campanile in St Mark's Square in Venice. The 20-floor structure was originally built to use as a department store, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. There is an observation deck on the top two floors, behind the clock. Events, such as private functions and weddings are often held in the remodeled interior space. Cabaret performances can be seen in the basement.
11
Larimer Square

11) Larimer Square

The square is located between 14th and 15th on Larimer Street, and is Denver’s oldest and most historic district. Back in the 19th century when gold miners settled in the area now known as Denver, Larimer Square was where they set up camp. Several different groups came to the area: The first from Georgia, where they struck gold during the Summer of 1858. They set up camp near the corner of Larimer Street and Speer Boulevard. The second group, arrived shortly after and set up camp across the creek, and named it St. Charles. As the second group left for the winter, a third group came in and took over. These miners, from Kansas, decided to name the town after James “Denver”, the governor. Larimer Square had the first bank, bookstore, photographer, and dry goods store in all of Denver. Today it is home to trendy restaurants, fashionable boutiques, and popular nightclubs and bars. A great and trendy place to check out for evening entertainment.
Image by Jeffrey Beall under Creative Commons License.
12
Denver Performing Arts Complex

12) Denver Performing Arts Complex

The performing arts center features a blend of Broadway shows, theatrical performances, and acting instruction. The space is also shared with the Colorado Ballet, Opera Colorado, and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. In the early 1950s, philanthropist Helen G. Bonfils created Denver's first community theatre in which she and her friends performed. Later in the decade, Bonfils and Wall Street Lawyer and Broadway producer Donald R. Seawell dreamt up the need for Denver's first theatrical complex. It wasn't until 1972 that Seawell decided to build it in it's current location to "revive downtown Denver." In 1984, a three-year Master of Fine Arts acting school, called the National Theatre Conservatory, was established and it was the only one of its kind chartered by Congress. Then by 1998, the Denver Center Theatre Company received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. At the time of building in '72, the complex was the largest in the world. Now it is the largest in the Western Hemisphere spanning 12 acres.